When really getting into a new sport there is nothing I love more than brand-spanking new gear! I guess it is something about “looking the part” first and the rest will follow- I dunno. Whatever it is, I love searching out new gear whether it be special apparel, pads, braces, footware, gloves, headware, eyeware, heck even the commonly used first aid supplies. My budget is the limiting factor here but you better believe that if I find something new that I really want, I will save, scrape, and work to get it!
Now, when it comes to athletic fashion I can say with utmost certainty that I am NOT on the cutting edge…I’m not even close. I like what I like even if it isn’t commonly accepted. So I guess when I say I like “looking the part” I have my own idea of what that “part” looks like. Take rowing for example, when I first got into rowing I had no idea what people wore. The first day of practice I showed up in shorts and a t-shirt like everyone else but the second I started to get into it I immediately bought myself some trou (designed for pure function as they literally look horrible on whoever is wearing them) For our spring break rowing trip I loaded up on dri-fit tanks that were originally made for tennis and they worked perfectly and looked great! I chose them for function but ended up looking very much like a rower.
For the vast majorty of my childhood I played soccer. A severe injury forced my early retirement from the game but I can recall back in the day the hours I spent perusing a Euro-Sport catalogue for the best goalie jerseys, gloves, balls, and cleats. I HAD to have a specific brand of glove (thankfully it wasn’t the most expensive) and I hated it when I couldn’t get that style. I have relatively small hands for someone who played goal keeper and basketball through high school and I remember I had to actually order youth sized gloves because I prefered the dexterity a closer fitting glove afforded me. I was also picky about my jerseys. I hated most of the crazy keeper jerseys on the market. Some claim they serve the function of grabbing the shooter’s eye the brighter and crazier they are- I considered that complete bull and refused to walk around looking like an idiot. My jerseys were neat, simple in style, and my socks always complemented the color jersey. Tidy. Functional. Professional.
And then I decided to get back into horseback riding… whole new set of gear! I used to ride western so I got myself some sweet jeans, a Troxel dakota helmet, and some Ariat paddock boots with kilties. That all worked quite well until I switched barns and decided to try dressage. Yeah… whole new set of gear required. I shelled out for a few economical pairs of breeches and found a killer deal on some leather half-chaps. Now remember when I said I wasn’t made of money? Here is where the improv comes in. I took the kilties off my western boots- instant english boot! (sorta…) and forget riding socks I have plenty of these old soccer socks- totally the same right? No one is going to see them under the chaps anyway. Then came the propect of looking for some neat and polished looking shirts for riding. I decided that a polo looks quite professional and found a good deal on some golf polos that look smokin’ with my breeches or tights. When I’m all dressed up I totally look the part!
…even if I am the only dressage rider wearing a Slazenger polo, Under Armor ski tights, Puma soccer socks, and western paddock boots! 😉